Monday, October 22, 2012

Tai Solarin’s Widow, Sheila, Dies

I just learnt of the death of Sheila Mary Solarin (nee Tuer), the widow of Dr. Tai Solarin, one of once one of Nigeria’s foremost educators and agitators for social justice. With her late husband, she had founded the famous Mayflower School in Ikenne, Ogun State.

A family source said Mrs. Solarin died this morning at Babcock University Teaching Hospital in Sagamu, near Lagos. She was 88 years old.

The English-born Mrs. Solarin was a dependable ally of her husband who spent a lifetime fighting as a voice for the downtrodden Nigerian masses.

She and her late husband had two children, Corin and Tunde.

The source disclosed that Governor Ibikunle Amosun was on his way to meet with and console members of the Solarin family.

Funeral arrangements will be announced in due course, said the source.

Statement by Ogun State government:

Amosun Mourns Sheila Tai - Solarin Ogun State governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, has mourned the death of Mrs Sheila Mary Solarin, the widow of the late founder of Mayflower School, Ikenne and social critic, Dr Tai Solarin. She passed away on Sunday, 21st of October, 2012 at the age of 88.

In a press release signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media, Mrs Funmi Wakama, Senator Amosun described the demise of Mrs Solarin as most painful and a great loss to Ogun State and Nigeria in general.

According to the governor "Mama Solarin was a foremost educationist, a great teacher and disciplinarian who rendered an immeasurable service to the people of Ogun State and Nigeria through the Mayflower School. The school founded in 1956 became one of the best schools in the country and has produced many of the leading lights in our nation."

Senator Amosun noted that Mama Solarin personified the common humanity we shared "not just by marrying our own revered Dr Tai Solarin but choosing to live in Nigeria and making it her true home."

"Mrs Solarin was an exampler of that much- needed global spirit that sees beyond colour, race and religion in inter-relationships among peoples, nations and continents of the world," the governor said.

"Ogun State and Nigeria have lost a first class teacher,an epitome of hard work, a humanist extraordinnaire and role model of distinction," Amosun said.

Mama Solarin, an education icon, was British by birth. She met the late social critic, Dr Tai Solarin, in England and both moved to Nigeria in 1952 where they worked in Molusi College, Ijebu Igbo before establishing the Mayflower School, Ikenne.

Governor Amosun has since consoled with the family of the deceased.

May the gentle soul of Mama Solarin rest in perfect peace.

Funmi Wakama.

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